God’s Word begins before the beginning, starting with an explanation of the beginning. As the only recorded eyewitness to this worlds’ beginning, God presents a powerful, yet sensible testimony of how everything that we know of in creation came into being. This is the doctrine of creation. Creation is not a matter for science, rather, creation is theological as Scripture is our only source of information regarding the creator and the events of His creation.
As the pre-existent one, God tells us that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). He did this through “his Son… through whom also he created the world” (Heb 1:2). John explains that Jesus, who is also known as ‘the Word,’ “was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made” (Jn 1:1-3).
God testifies to being unassisted in the work of creating everything. “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Heb 11:3). No other being, no angels, no microscopic matter, and no external information was used by God to design and bring into being everything we know to be real in the universe. He did not require assistance; he did not need to use building materials or tools. He simply spoke all of creation into existence by His own intrinsic power and will. “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him” (Col 1:16).
All living things in the heavenly and spiritual realm, plus all within the earthy physical realm, are the direct result of God exercising His creative power. Nothing that came into being was without purpose or meaning, as everything was intended for the glory of God. Therefore, mankind finds his meaning, his purpose, and his hope in living for God. Mankind is NOT independent of God, nor is mankind autonomous, or self-authoritative.
As the eternal, uncreated, and pre-existent God who “has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself” (Jn 5:26). God is life, and His Son Jesus Christ who was the instrument of God’s creative Word is also life. Which is why Jesus was able to say of himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Furthermore, the apostle Paul adds that “the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2). So, we see that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are perpetual life in and of themselves, incapable of non-life, incapable of annihilation, and incapable of non-existence.
Genesis 1:2 further tells us that in the initial steps of creation “the earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” God the Holy Spirit was both present and active in the exercise of the Father and Son’s creative work. The entirety of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were united in the expression of their will and power through bringing into existence their world within their universe, for their glory.
Proverbs 3:19 adds that “the LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens.” God engaged more than His intellect and power in creation. He unleashed the greatest expression of His understanding by employing His wisdom. Proverbs 8:22 continues, “the LORD possessed me (wisdom) at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old.” Then, wisdom testifies, “I was daily his delight” (Proverbs 8:30). As Yahweh exercised His will through His intelligence and powerful creativity, He only made the best decisions, only implementing the very best that He was capable of. The result was that God’s perfection rejoiced in the excellence of His wise handiwork. This is why on the sixth day of creation, as the Lord evaluated all that He had accomplished, He concluded that everything “was very good” (Gen 1:31).
Paul informed the Colossian believers that “He (Christ) is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Col 1:17). Jesus Christ, who existed before anything else existed, was not only the cause of all created things, but He is the cause of the created universe holding together. Christ is the reason for all material objects NOT falling apart. Every unseen, and every visible process that operates in the universe to maintain order is the direct enablement of Christ’s sovereign will and power. This is why the writer of Hebrews says that Christ “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb 1:3). Because of Christ’s sovereignty over creation, we can say with Paul, “in him (Christ) we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Christ is the giver of life, and Christ is the sustainer of life. Therefore, every creature that exists is subject to God and dependent upon God as the absolute owner of all. Understanding this is essential because “the whole world… is accountable to God” (Rom 3:19).
Nothing was left to chance or to self-development, there was and remains no evolutionary process. God did NOT create the universe then sit back and hope that everything would somehow continue to develop and maintain itself. No, in the beginning, God created everything complete, fully developed, and fully functional.
Let’s now turn our attention to some details concerning the origin of all that we know that exists in the universe. The creation account recorded in Genesis 1:1-2:3 puts God’s genius on display. Even a quick reading reveals the increments in which God worked. The entire process was divided into 6 stages, which were 6 cycles of time which He called days and nights. Notice that before God’s first creative work NOTHING existed, there were no building materials and no measurement of area or of time.
Day 1 Gen 1:1-5
God created the empty universe with a single planet – earth. The earth was a round sphere (Isa 40:22) completely covered with water, sitting in total darkness. God then created light and separated the light from the darkness, calling light “day” and darkness “night.” This was the first literal 24 hour cycle of time divided into night and day without a Sun or Moon, purely by God’s power.
Day 2 Gen 1:6-8
God created an expanse, an empty area which separated the waters and called it heaven (sky). Now there was water covering the entire earth surface, plus water up in the sky which we call cloud. In between these two waters was the empty expanse which we call air (atmosphere).
At this point in time there was no rain, the clouds contained the water without dropping it. Plus, rising from the surface of the ground was a water vapour, a mist of tiny floating water droplets which provided water to anything that grew up from the ground.
Day 3 Gen 1:9-13
God created the dry ground, and He gathered the waters which covered the surface of the earth, calling the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters “seas” (Oceans).
God also created vegetation (plants and trees). The plants were divided into distinctly different types, or categories, and given the ability to reproduce through their seeds. Each plant could only reproduce another plant of its same kind by its own seed.
Within these different plant types, God created some which produced fruit which also contained their seeds. All these plants were created mature, and without the need for further development for them to reproduce.
Day 4 Gen 1:14-19
God created the sun, moon, and stars to give light to the earth and to govern and separate the day and night times. These would also serve as signs to mark out and govern seasons, days, and years.
On this day God created what we call our solar system, a highly accurate group of revolving heavenly bodies. The distance, the angles, and the magnetic fields of these planets and stars are precisely determined by God and they in turn determine the earths seasons, temperature, and the ocean tides.
Day 5 Gen 1:20-23
God created every living creature in the seas and every winged bird. He blessed them with the instinctive ability to multiply and fill the waters and the sky with life. The enormous diversity in the many kinds of sea life and bird life is testament to God’s ingenious creative mind and power. From the microscopic organisms to the great whales of the sea, God created them all as living beings.
Notice again, that God created all these creatures mature and fully developed in their distinct categories of kinds, ready for reproduction. God did not create just a few of these creatures, but huge numbers of them so that the oceans swarmed with them.
Day 6 Gen 1:24-31; 2:7-8, 2:15-25
God created all the animals to cover the earth, from tiny insects to giant creatures such as the Elephant, and even larger, the dinosaurs. Again, every creature was made fully mature, reproductive, and fully functional in all the activities of their lives. Each kind of creature was unique, different in design and function, and possessed differing levels of intelligence and reasoning. All were given the instincts, the required mental instructions needed to live from the moment of their creation, NO further development was needed.
But it was on the sixth day that God created His most spectacular creature, the only creature which God formed from the dust of the earth. This creature carried the image of God, it was man (Adam). God breathed life into the man who carried superior intelligence, greater dignity, and an awareness of his unique relationship with creator God.
God entrusted the knowledge of obedience and disobedience, of life and death only to Adam by instructing Adam NOT to eat from one tree which lived in the centre of the garden. Genesis 2:17, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” No other creature was given this knowledge or responsibility. This instruction was given to Adam alone to pass on to all future humans, beginning with his future wife, Eve.
God also entrusted to Adam the job of naming all the creatures of the earth which God had created. Genesis 2:19, “now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.” Adam alone possessed the ingenious intelligence required to think up and assign names to the huge number of different creatures that God had made. To a lesser degree, Adam possessed similar intellect as His creator, which identified Adam as being very different from all else that God had created. Adam stood out, he stood apart from every other living creature.
The next stage of God’s human development was equally unique from all else. God put Adam to sleep and surgically removed one of His ribs, then closed the wound. God proceeded to form a woman from that rib (Eve), and presented her to Adam as His counterpart, the one who would complete and balance Adam. Eve was Adam’s wife right from creation. Both man and woman were equally created in the image of God. Neither Adam nor Eve were superior or inferior to each other. Both were equally superior to all other creatures, and both were equally inferior to their creator God.
God blessed them equally and gave them every creature and the whole earth to rule over, to care for, to develop, and cultivate as they thought best as a governing partnership over the earth. Out of all the creatures, great and small, only Adam and Eve were equally given the responsibility and freedom to manage the entire planet that God had created.
So, at the end of day number 6, having created His most spectacular creatures, God surveyed everything, looking intently into all that He had made. He evaluated with a piercing examination of every aspect of all He had made over the past 6 days. His conclusion was that everything, in every detail, from the smallest to the greatest, “was very good” (Gen 1:31). From the Hebrew language which Genesis is written in, we learn that God wholly, or exceedingly, says that everything was the very best, without even the smallest imperfection. Everything was an accurate expression of His majestic greatness and power. Holiness and omniscient power had given birth to creation through the spoken Word of Christ.
Day 7 Gen 2:1-3
God had completed His 6 literal days of creative work, with NO part requiring any further development, refinement, or improvement. Everything, without exception, was perfect and in full alignment with God’s holy will and purpose.
God was not exhausted; He did not need to rest because He was tired or had run out of ideas. No, He rested because there was nothing more that needed doing, “so God blessed the seventh day and made it holy” (Gen 2:3). Everything that God had designed and intended had become reality, so He rested.
Why is it important to have a clear and literal understanding of biblical creation? Following is a sample of how Scripture reveals the significance of understanding God’s creative work.
Creation reveals God
Romans 1:19-20 “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
Everything that exists is an open declaration by God of His desire to be recognised and known. Creation is a tangible book about God, written in language that all people can see and understand. All that can be scientifically examined, and all that can be experienced, speaks of God’s design, of God’s intelligence, and of God’s purposeful power. While the created universe is limited in its ability to display all of God’s attributes, much of God’s character is clearly seen in the created universe.
The human authors of God’s Word speak repeatedly, drawing the reader’s attention to God and His creative authorship of all that exists. Moses, Amos, Asaph, David, Ethan, Ezekiel, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Job, the Levites, Malachi, Nehemiah, the Psalmist, Solomon, Zechariah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews, all declare God as the creator of all things. The Bible points repeatedly to God being the reason for both the universe and mankind existing. The evidence is so clear, and so boldly obvious, that God says mankind is without excuse if they claim there is no creator God.
When Paul was preaching in the Greek city of Lystra, Acts 14:15-17 records him calling the people to look at creation.
“We bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them… God …did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” The hydrologic system that produces rain, as well as the earths’ ability to produce an incredible variety of fruits and vegetables is no accident. The earth produces food as an expression of God’s provision in creation. Food is given by God for our survival and nourishment. The earth’s food supply is testimony to God’s existence.
David proclaimed in Psalm 19:1-2, “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” The enormity of the universe with all its stars and planets orbiting in their precise place and timing, tells of God’s greatness. The heavens remind us of just how small we are by comparison to God, yet He loves us and cares for us (Jn 3:16).
1 Chronicles 29:11-12 shares a prayer of David before the assembly of Israel. “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honour come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” Understanding God as creator gives mankind a correct perspective of the greatness of God and the smallness of mankind. It also tells us that God is sovereign, owning everything. God sets the boundaries, and He controls all that happens within His kingdom. Mankind is dependent upon God for all things. There is no place, no time, and no circumstances when God is not ruling over everything. No matter who we are, or where we are, it is God who grants us our abilities and strength.
Therefore, it is only God who can forgive mankind’s rebellion. Only He can forgive humanity’s desire to live separate from, and in denial of creator God. Mankind’s disobedience to God can only be forgiven and cleansed by the God we offend. As Mark 2:7 says, “who can forgive sins but God alone?” “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb…’” (Isaiah 44:24). Our creator is our redeemer through His Son Jesus Christ. John 1:12 says, “all who did receive him (Jesus), who believed in his name, he (God) gave the right to become children of God.”
I shall leave you with the inspirational worship from the Levites of old. “Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. 6 You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you” (Nehemiah 9:5-6).